- Oct. 17th 2022 5:00 am PT
Palo-Alto, California-based EV charging software provider ev.energy and internet of things (IoT) solutions provider Smartenit, based in Irvine, Calirfornia, today launched a smart, grid-optimized Level 1 mobile EV cable for drivers who don’t have access to home charging stations. Solar Panel Wire
Most – but not all – EVs come with a mobile charging cord with a standard SAE J1772 charging connector, and it plugs into any 120v, three-pronged outlet. (Teslas no longer come equipped with mobile connectors, and the Kia EV6 doesn’t come with a mobile connector either.)
Older EV models are also more likely to lack embedded telematics connectivity that allow them to take advantage of utility programs that pay out bill credits, or other financial incentives for charging during grid-optimal times. The ev.energy-Smartenit mobile charging cable addresses these issues.
This Level 1 charging cable can be plugged into any 120v outlet. A Wi-Fi-connected modem inside the device connects it to the ev.energy app that offers EV drivers automatic off-peak charging schedules to minimize charging costs. It also works with several US power utilities to offer EV drivers additional cash back for participating in smart-charging programs.
For example, this past summer, customers of the United Illuminating Company of Connecticut used ev.energy’s platform to earn $50 per month for charging at grid-optimal times, earning up to $200 cash back.
The Level 1 version of this cable retails for $350. (There’s also a Level 2 version available for sale that costs $500.) There are plenty of Level 1 EV charging cables on the market that cost less, but this is smart, so it saves users money in the long run.
Tesla’s mobile connector currently costs $200, and you can use the Tesla app to set it to charge during off-peak times. I own Tesla’s mobile connector – I managed to score one before Tesla stopped including it with the car – and I use it at home daily to charge my Model 3. I’d be in big trouble without it. I used to use the Level 1 adapter outdoors when I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. Now we use the Gen 2 NEMA 6-50 adapter in Vermont in our garage. The Tesla mobile smart connector gets the job done with both Level 1 and Level 2 adapters.
So I wouldn’t need this product as a Tesla driver, but it could prove valuable to someone who wanted to swap their older Level 1 non-smart charging cable for a smart charger in order to save on their home electric bills.
If someone is charging their EV at their apartment building’s parking lot, I suppose it depends on whether or how they’re billed for using communal electrical outlets. I’d love to hear from apartment dwellers about this – is it free, or does it cost you in some way to use a communal outlet? Would this product be helpful to you?
Joseph Vellone, ev.energy’s head of North America, told Electrek by email what he felt the differentiator is for his company’s mobile EV charger. He replied:
It contains a Wi-Fi-connected modem that allows for at-home smart-charging via the ev.energy software platform. That means it will calculate an optimal schedule for the EV driver based on their desired charge level and departure time, while scheduling for the cheapest (off-peak) and lowest-carbon hours based on data ev.energy gets from the driver’s utility.
If the driver is a customer of a participating utility, they might also benefit from additional cash rebates on their EV charging via the ev.energy mobile app, which the driver uses alongside the charger. For example, EV drivers in Massachusetts benefit from $0.05/kWh off their off-peak charging via a program run by National Grid.
This [smart charging cable] ensures that all EV drivers – not just ones who drive top-end/newer models, or live in a detached family house with their own private EV charging station – can enjoy the benefits of greener, cheaper charging.
Do you think this smart mobile EV cable is good value? Would you purchase it, and why or why not? Let us know in the comments down below.
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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at email@example.com. Check out her personal blog.
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